Northern Ireland news

Growing far right movement blamed for latest hotel fire

Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, on the Roscommon-Leitrim border where there have been two arson attacks in recent months.

Gardai investigating the second fire in weeks at a Roscommon hotel set to be used to house asylum seekers are looking at a link between a growing far right movement in the county.

A fire was discovered in the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, on the Roscommon-Leitrim border, shortly before 9.15pm on Monday.

The hotel has been earmarked for direct provision for asylum seekers. Security personnel who were were staying at the disused hotel alerted emergency services.

Mohill and Strokestown Fire Services attended and remained at the scene as a precautionary measure after the fire caused minimal damage to a bedroom. No-one was injured.

It is the second fire at the disused 39-room hotel, which had been the subject of a high court dispute over its sale and sparked criticism among far right activists since it emerged that the Department of Justice plans to accommodate up to 80 refugee families at the premises.

The hotel has been closed since 2011.

Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, said he was "deeply concerned" about the fire.

"This comes just five weeks after the previous fire at the hotel. This pattern of behaviour represents an unacceptable and worrying development and should be condemned by all," he said.

"The person or people responsible for this attack have shown a reckless disregard for the safety of human life and no respect for private property. The owners of the hotel had just completed the necessary repairs to the property from the last fire and the damage will now have to be assessed again for the second time this year."

A similar scenario took place in November last year in Moville, Co Donegal, where a fire broke out in the town's Caiseal Mara Hotel, where 100 refugees are set to be housed in direct provision.

A growing far right 'Irish nationalism' movement which has sprung up in the Roscommon area has been linked to recent attacks on direct provision properties.

The group has falsely claimed asylum seekers are being given priority accommodation during a growing housing crisis in the Republic.

In December a number of bailiffs from Northern Ireland were attacked after forcibly evicting a family from their farm in Falsk just outside Strokestown in Roscommon.

Eight security men who were guarding the house were injured, three of whom required hospital treatment, while vehicles were set on fire and a guard dog had to be put down after being injured in the attack.

Two people have appeared in court charged in connection with the incident at Strokestown.

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